Years ago I had a coworker who used to say that work wasn’t supposed to be fun, that’s why it was called, “work.”
He also said that the corporate world was a “necessary evil.”
I’m not sure what he meant by that.
At the time I interpreted it to mean that it was necessary because (at least at the time) corporate jobs paid more and provided benefits and perks.
The evil part was the crap we had to put up with. If you’re in corporate (or a recent escapee) you know what I’m saying.
For some reason in the corp world, it’s not enough to come in and do your job. You’ve got to navigate the politics, the inertia, the pressure not to announce that the emporor has no clothes when he’s bare-ass naked.
We make those compromises in order to stay employed. To pay our bills and keep food on the table. We detach from the bullshit and check out of our lives for 8, 10, 12 or more hours a day so we can get by.
But does work have to be this way?
It isn’t that way for everyone. There are corps where the environments are more positive and encouraging. More innovative and more healthy.
So, I’m not saying every large corp is just waiting to suck your soul dry. Some are and some aren’t–and you don’t have to necessarily go to a large company to have that experience either. I’m sure you know that there are just as many smaller workplaces that can make you run screaming. Or already have.
When I was a kid, people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. The future
was limitless at that point.
But as you get older, you get different messages. From your family, from the people you hang out with, from people who love you and from those who hate you. You get hammered into shape like hot metal. You can do this…you can’t do that…who do you think you are to want to…
Depending on your experiences you might have been encouraged or pushed back
at every turn.
Right now you might be broken and bloodied. But know this, what you are here to create and produce, will call you forward.
You may not hear the call.
You may ignore it.
You may have to fight to realize it.
But it’s calling you.
It’ll be hard to hear it if you’re disconnected from your thoughts and feelings, sitting in a grey cube, just trying to get through the day.
Recently, a question was posted on Clarity.com. The poster was frustrated because he wanted his work to matter. He was tired of being put into positions that led nowhere.
As I read it, I felt like I was reading a question I could’ve posted at one time. I could feel his desire to know where he should go to do work that excited him. The despair at all the well-meaning advice steering him this way and that.
I’ve been there. It’s tough to try to fit into a box, knowing that you don’t belong there. Yet feeling a lot of pressure to conform to a “norm” for working.
From time to time I’ve had to return to the corp world as a contractor. Freelancing
can be feast or famine. Sometimes the lean times last longer than I’d like. But that’s still a work in progress as I add other income streams–and as I listen to my own call that’s pulling me forward.
My desire is that work shouldn’t be something miserable, or frustrating. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the desire to do good, fulfilling work and get my bills paid.
That’s what inspired me to write Think Like an Entrepreneur four years ago. That’s why my own words continue to keep me moving forward. I’ve been on the employee and entrepreneurial sides of the working world. I know perfectly well that it’s not easy.
But what I know for sure is you won’t get anyplace if you don’t get your mind right first.
You must have a way to push out the naysayers…the haters…the status quo keepers.
Your work is your expression in the world. It’s what you’re here to do. Whether you do it in your own business or in someone else’s, you must do it.
Once you discover what you’re here to do, you have the right–and the responsibility–to do it.
To live it and share it with the world.
Copyright © 2014 Deborah A. Bailey
Photo Credit: Hartwig HKD via Flickr cc